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US and Singapore to extend people-to-people ties

The US and Singapore have agreed to strengthen people-to-people ties, especially in the field of higher education, the countries announced as US vice president Kamala Harris visited the Southeast Asian city-state.

Singapore was the first stop in vice president Kamala Harris’ visit to the region. Photo: (stock image) White House/ Lawrence Jackson/ Flickr

Some 41 US universities maintain partnerships with Singaporean counterparts

Along with key issues covered during Harris’s time in Singapore, such as addressing climate change and cyber threats and common security challenges, promoting inclusive growth, innovation and resilient supply chains, and fighting Covid-19, the partners agreed to deepen people-to-people ties.

Both the US and Singapore welcomed the launch of an Education USA Advising Centre in Singapore, which will provide information, workshops, and college counselling services free of charge for students interested in studying in the US.

Implemented by the American Chamber of Commerce, the centre will in turn deepen people-to-people ties between the next generation of Singaporean and American leaders, the respective governments suggested.

“On the people-to-people ties, travel is one big part of it, students studying is a big part of it,” said Singapore prime minister Lee Hsien Loong.

“I spent a couple of years in the US myself, and you never forget the friends which you made”

Approximately 4,000 Singaporean students study in US universities each year, while 41 US universities maintain partnerships with Singaporean counterparts, supporting 110 exchange programs.

“We have very many students from Singapore, and in fact from all over the region, who’re studying the US,” prime minister Lee said.

“I spent a couple of years in the US myself, and you never forget the experience and the friends which you have made.”

Security and defence cooperation, intelligence exchange, counter terrorism activities, cybersecurity, as well as people-to-people ties are “things which ought to continue”, he added.

“I’m quite confident that they will continue and they will grow. And we will be able to deepen the ties across the Pacific for many more years to come.”

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